The Best Letters of Charles Lamb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.

God bless you! do come to England.  Air and exercise may do great things.  Talk with some minister.  Why not your father?

God dispose all for the best!  I have discharged my duty.

Your sincere friend,

C. LAMB.

[1] Manning had evidently written to Lamb as to his cherished project of exploring remoter China and Thibet.

XLII.

TO MANNING.

February, 1803.

Not a sentence, not a syllable, of Trismegistus shall be lost through my neglect.  I am his word-banker, his storekeeper of puns and syllogisms.  You cannot conceive (and if Trismegistus cannot, no man can) the strange joy which I felt at the receipt of a letter from Paris.  It seemed to give me a learned importance which placed me above all who had not Parisian correspondents.  Believe that I shall carefully husband every scrap, which will save you the trouble of memory when you come back.  You cannot write things so trifling, let them only be about Paris, which I shall not treasure.  In particular, I must have parallels of actors and actresses.  I must be told if any building in Paris is at all comparable to St. Paul’s, which, contrary to the usual mode of that part of our nature called admiration, I have looked up to with unfading wonder every morning at ten o’clock, ever since it has lain in my way to business.  At noon I casually glance upon it, being hungry; and hunger has not much taste for the fine arts.  Is any night-walk comparable to a walk from St. Paul’s to Charing Cross, for lighting and paving, crowds going and coming without respite, the rattle of coaches, and the cheerfulness of shops?  Have you seen a man guillotined yet? is it as good as hanging?  Are the women all painted, and the men all monkeys? or are there not a few that look like rational of both sexes?  Are you and the First Consul thick?  All this expense of ink I may fairly put you to, as your letters will not be solely for my proper pleasure, but are to serve as memoranda and notices, helps for short memory, a kind of Rumfordizing recollection, for yourself on your return.  Your letter was just what a letter should be,—­crammed and very funny.  Every part of it pleased me, till you came to Paris, and your philosophical indolence or indifference stung me.  You cannot stir from your rooms till you know the language!  What the devil! are men nothing but word-trumpets?  Are men all tongue and ear?  Have these creatures, that you and I profess to know something about, no faces, gestures, gabble; no folly, no absurdity, no induction of French education upon the abstract idea of men and women; no similitude nor dissimilitude to English?  Why, thou cursed Smellfungus! your account of your landing and reception, and Bullen (I forget how you spell it,—­it was spelt my way in Harry the Eighth’s time), was exactly in that minute style which strong impressions INSPIRE

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The Best Letters of Charles Lamb from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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